GIEWS Country Brief: Cambodia 12-December-2016



  • Increased rains boost prospects for 2016 main season rice output

  • Rice exports in 2016 forecast above last year’s level

  • Rice prices increased seasonally in October

  • Large numbers of people affected by the lingering effects of prolonged drought in 2015 and 2016

Increased rains boost prospects for 2016 main season rice production

Harvesting of the 2016 main (“wet”) paddy crop, which normally accounts for about 80 percent of the national annual production, just started and is expected to continue until the end of February. Although dry weather conditions at the start of the season between May and July caused some delay of planting activities, rains resumed from August, allowing planting pace to pick up and boosting yield prospects. According to latest official estimates, as of early November, some 2.6 million hectares were sown to main paddy crop, 2 percent above last year’s level. Improved rains also benefited water availabilities for the 2016 mostly irrigated secondary (“dry”) paddy crop, currently being planted and to be harvested from March 2017. Assuming average growing conditions prevail, FAO forecasts the 2016 aggregate rice production at 9.5 million tonnes, slightly above last year’s level and a new record.

The bulk of the 2016 maize crop was harvested by October. FAO’s latest estimate put the aggregate 2016 maize production at 750 000 tonnes, implying a strong recovery after two years of sharply-reduced outputs. This is the result of a larger area sown, as well as, improved yields, reflecting favourable weather conditions and Government input support, including the distributions of subsidized water pumps and fertilizers.

Rice exports in 2016 forecast above last year’s level

Rice exports in the 2016 calendar year are forecast by FAO at 1.25 million tonnes, 4 percent above last year’s level, mainly reflecting increased border trade with Viet Nam. By contrast, maize shipments in 2016 are anticipated to be three times lower than their level last year, due to the sharply reduced production in 2015. Maize exports are expected to return to normal levels at 140 000 tonnes in 2017, in line with a recovery in 2016 output.

Rice prices increased seasonally in October

Wholesale prices of rice increased in most markets in October, supported by seasonal tightness, but remained below their year‑earlier levels. In an attempt to boost prices paid to farmers during the 2016 main harvest, the Government approved in late September a special loan package of USD 27 million to rice millers to buy rice paddy from farmers. The total includes USD 20 million from the Government’s budget and USD 7 million from the state-run Rural Development Bank. On the loans provided to rice millers, the Government will charge an annual interest rate of 8 percent.

Large numbers of people affected by lingering effects of drought in 2015 and 2016

The impact of the prolonged drought from early 2015 to mid‑2016 has resulted in an increased level of food insecurity in the affected areas. According to official estimates, approximately 2.5 million Cambodians and 18 out of 25 provinces, were affected by the drought. Although rains improved from late July over most of the country, bringing relief to the drought affected areas, farming households with little resilience and low agricultural productivity have not recovered fully and may require some humanitarian assistance.